When you arrive at your vacation home for a weekend, week or month of fun and relaxation, you want to arrive at a property that has been well-maintained in your absence. So you’re not pulling up to an unruly lawn, broken windows or a flooded basement.
Properly maintaining your vacation home or cottage takes some planning and coordination. But it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are five ways to maintain your vacation home so you can enjoy it more.
1. Hire a property management firm
Having an extra set of eyes on your vacation property can give you the peace of mind that your home is being looked after and protected — and a property management company is a convenient option to consider. While services vary by management group, they generally monitor for issues such as leaks, pests or signs of a break-in, can handle tasks such as snow removal or lawn care, and can pick up mail or flyers that might collect in your absence.
As part of your contract, they should regularly relay information to you and alert you to any problems as soon as they arise.
While there are costs involved in property management companies, relying on a paid provider — rather than favours from friends or neighbours — can offer a clean and simple option for maintenance.
2. Bring in a cleaning company
If you’re not interested in the full support of a property management company but want to arrive at a clean home ready to enjoy, consider hiring a cleaning company to do a thorough clean before you pull up. Having fresh sheets, clean bathrooms, newly vacuumed floors, and dusted surfaces means you don’t need to spend the first hours of your stay doing the dirty work.
3. Partner up with neighbouring owners
If you’re friendly with your neighbours, they may represent a great option for simple check-ins on your vacation home. While you may not be comfortable asking them to clean your gutters or repaint your window frames, you may be able to enlist them to water and mow your lawn or collect your mail when you’re away for a while. If their property is also a vacation home, you may be able to set up a schedule of reciprocal home care that doesn’t leave any one party feeling like they’re doing all the work.
4. Take care of preventative maintenance when you’re there
One of the best ways to maintain your vacation home is to ensure all systems are in great condition and running smoothly. Regularly servicing your furnace and air conditioning units, sealing any cracks in windows or doors and ensuring your roof is in good shape are all steps you can take while you’re at your property to minimize the risk of problems while you’re away.
5. Set up smart systems
Thanks to smart home technology, it’s easier than ever to monitor your lighting, temperature and security from afar. Adding smart lightbulbs and security cameras can keep potential burglars away, and smart thermostats can keep your home at a moderate temperature, keeping the interior from getting too hot or cold when you’re not there. Adding a smart irrigation system can also keep your lawn watered during the hotter months, and smart locks can make it easy to allow neighbours, property managers or cleaners to enter (while keeping you in the loop on who is going in and out).
Of course, the more you use your vacation property, the better it may run. If you’re looking for an excuse to escape, consider heading to your vacation property regularly for some “preventative maintenance” that has a little me-time mixed in. When you can’t get there as often as you like, consider these tips to protect and maintain your vacation home.
This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.